Music seems to have been on a bit of roll as far as we can tell these last few years. Seems there’s not a week goes by without at least one truly great album being released. Which is probably why most of the popular music press have taken to not only do an end of year “album of the year” list but also one mid year too. Either that or it’s for the SEO. We dunno, but one thing we do know is that the end of June, beginning of July is an excellent time to take stock. And not just because it’s the middle of the year. Those of you who keep your noses to the wheels of this thing called “the music biz” will know full well that the release schedule goes through two peaks and two troughs. The peaks roughly align to “spring” – when artists are getting their albums out before the festival season’s in full swing – and autumn, when artists are desperately trying to get their albums onto all those end of year lists. And Xmas too, a bit. We guess. Which of course means we’re now in a wee bit of a trough. Our email inboxes are slightly less swollen at the moment than they have been for a while. We can, heaven forfend, even catch a bit of a breath. And engage on reflecting back on the previous six months too, coz we’re not that bothered about breathing, really, when all’s said and done.

So that’s what we’ve been doing. All of us. We’ve asked all of our writers to tell us what their favourite albums are, and to tell us, in a sentence or so, why. There’s roughly about 70 albums here, which probably represents half our writing staff, supplemented by a few albums we felt needed a nod because they’re truly excellent and they help raise the diversity quotient up a notch. Naturally they cross most of the genres. It wouldn’t be Louder Than War otherwise would it, after all? We have traditional folk music next to black metal next to african music next to techno next to metalcore next to hip hop next to punk next to jazz next to indie next to rock next to metal next to The Membranes, whose magnificent album Dark Matter/Dark Energy we aren’t going to exclude because it’s the boss’s band. Oh no. Only two albums were voted for by more than one person – congratulations to Courtney B and Sufjan S for that honour. Two brilliant albums, but not necessarily any better than any of the other albums on this list.

So there we have it. dive in, have a read, explore some of the albums you don’t know, maybe, then leave a comment haranguing us for omitting your fav album of 2015 so far or applauding us for getting it absolutely bob on. We look forward to hearing your opinion.

That’s enough pre-amble anyway, we’re going to shut up now and leave you to read on…


bathymetry-2-300x300Bathymetry – Bathymetry (Ugly Man Records)

Sean Diamond says:

“A beguiling mixture of underwater melody, ghostly folkism and sunshine pop charm.”

Our review:

Superhand-American-Teeth-300x300Superhand – American Teeth (Malt Barn Recordings)

Paul Scott-Bates says:

“The Powerful and the gentle. The dogs danglies.”

Our review:

1505788d-4720-4cad-84ca-464597051174My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall (ATO Records)

Dave Jennings:

“A spiritually-seeking, genre-defying gem.”

Our review:

God-Damn-Vultures-cover-300x300God Damn – Vultures (One Little Indian)

Josh Cooper says:

“It’s an epic to lose yourself in, layers and layers of doom, psych and grunge guitars with memorable hooks and thunderous drums. A noise rock masterpiece that represents their riotous live shows well.”

Our review:

MSOF_600_flatJohn Vanderslice – Mass Suicide Occult Figurines (The Native Sound)

Nat Lyon says:

“This is a remastered version of an album originally released in 2000. It still sounds fresh and relevant.”

Our review: To follow.

a0097735618_16One More Grain – Grain Fever (Self-released)

Declan IOM says:

“Like an old timer in a pub reciting folklore over a percussive backing track of Gamelan percussion and found sounds. A future lost classic.”

Our review: To follow.

A-New-International-Come-To-The-Fabulon-300x300A New International – Come To The Fabulon

Adrian Bloxham says:

“Different to anything else I’ve heard this year, emotionaly charged and blew me away on first listening.”

Our review:

320x320Vennart – The Demon Joke (Superball Music)

Mike Ainscoe says:

“Oceansize man goes solo and delivers Oceansize with knobs on – melodic, heavy and captivating.”

Our review: To follow.

5c45787f8bcd449a46bc3d1b50e65cc8.640x640x1-300x300Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly (Top Dawg)

James Lowther says:

“A biting commentary filled to the brim with jazz overtones and funky basslines from Thundercat. Unlike anything I’ve heard this year and an album I’ve had stuck on repeat since it’s release.”

Our review:

homepage_large.00c5e560The Sonics – This Is The Sonics (Revox)

Simon Kvalheim says:

:A great return. Like they’ve never been away. Should be compulsory in every household.”

Our review: To follow.

brain-waves-300x270Eureka Machines – Brain (Pledge Music / Wrath Records)

Martin Haslam says:

“Amazingly, improving on ‘Remain In Hope’, or growing, certainly. Power pop perfection.”

Our review:

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 16.06.03Puce Mary – The Palermo Protocol (Posh Isolation)

Joshua Hart says:

“Icy, creeping power electronics from one of the masters of the form. Not to be missed.”

Our review: To follow.

2015Slaves_AreYouSatisfied_110215.gallerySlaves – Are You Satisfied (Virgin / EMI)

Alan Ewart says:

“Hard hitting, aggressive old school punk from one of the best new UK bands around at the moment.”

Our review: To follow.

Mark LaneganMark Lanegan – A Thousand Miles of Midnight (Heavenly Recordings)

Ilia Rogatchevski says:

“Thoughtfully curated remix album featuring songs from Phantom Radio. Great set of tunes, perfect for late night driving.”

Our review: To follow.

a0880243902_16Warmduscher – Khaki Tears (Self-released)

Roxy Gillespie says:

“A surreal trip through post-Vietnam America, walking the fine line betwen brilliance and insanity as really original music often does.”

Our review: To follow.

carrie-and-lowell-1080x1080-300x300Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty)

Steve Swift says:

“Cathartic masterpiece, powerful in its understatement.”

Rebecca Sowray says:

“Dark, moody, difficult: my usual. Good overthinking music.”

Our review:

FFS_self-titled_album_cover_art-300x300F.F.S – F.F.S. (Domino Recordings)

Keith Goldhanger says:

“The Mael brothers have united themselves with Franz Ferdinand thus reincarnating the band they had in 1974 have have written a bunch of tunes that are a nostalgic reminder of what pop music was like when we were 12 years old and taking our first steps into uncontrolable musical obsession.”

Our review:

1426099774_young-guvYoung Guv – Ripe 4 Luv (Slumberland Records)

Glenn Airey says:

“Great songs and production on this classy sunshine pop debut.”

Our review: To follow.

Untitled-1Strung Out – Transmission.Alpha.Delta (Fat Wreck Chords)

Sean Valentine says:

“Not one weak song, all killer no filler. Solid rhythm section, tearing guitars and lyrically inpecable.”

Our review: To follow.

HONEY-CD-for-webbie-508x508-300x300Honey – Weekend Millionaire (Easy Action Records)

Mark Ray says:

“Awesome debut from grunge / punk West Country trio.”

Our review:

CDQn2Z4W0AA5D79.jpg-large-300x300The Membranes – Dark Matter/Dark Energy (Cherry Red Records)

Ged Babey says:

“A magnificent, sprawling, varied, epic album…It’s breadth and ambition unmatched by any band from the UK.”

Our review:

a0937482796_10Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit & Think… (Milk Records)

Rick Leach says:

“So good I can’t wait to hear what she comes up with next.”

Ged Hawes says:

“Brilliant debut album. Barnett’s humourous drifting thoughts against grungey psychedelia feels simple at times, but it’s far from it.”

Our review:

The-Vaccines-English-Graffiti-300x300The Vaccines – English Graffitti (Columbia)

Katie Clare says:

“Poetically astute sweet and sour lyrics enhance the three minute pocket rockets, acoustic tributes to the shimmery tear stains of heartache and whimsically sentimental harmonies of an album well worthy of permanent inclusion on your daily playlist.”

Our review:

sleaford_mods_new_lp_front_big_1024x1024-300x300Sleaford Mods – Key Markets (Harbinger Sound)

Gabby Dee says:

“The only band that matters. (Release delayed til 24th July) Hang on, isnt Gabby Dee an anagram of …”

Our review:

0004996615_10-682x700Yeah Yeah Noh – Automatically Saturday (Vuggum)

Ian Canty says:

“Simply because it turns the original band’s sound inside out but retains the magic and ends up sounding timeless and beautiful.”

Our review:

Pins-Wild-NightsPINS – Wild Nights (Bella Union)

Phil Newall says:

“Perfect twisted pop…like The Supremes on Mogadon.”

Our review:

R-6652491-1423923023-6768.jpegBiosphere / Deathprod – Stator (Touch)

Euan Andrews says:

“Ghost drones from the deepest, darkest bowels of the Audio Virus Lab.”

Our review: To follow.

valkarysThe Valkarys – (Just Like) Flying With God (Self Released)

Col Chant says:

“Enough Pop to get you hooked and enough darkness to keep it interesting. Stand out song – For You.”

Our review: To follow.

ATPLP55-GrimmGrimm-HazyEyesMaybe-ALBUM-SLEEVE-292x300Grimm Grimm – Hazy Eyes Maybe (ATP)

Dave Beech says:

“Flecked with Eastern influences and otherworldly concepts, it’s a record that harbours a wealth of subtle nuances that seep beneath the skin slowly, rather than bludgoning its listeners with trite immediacy.”

Our review:

Sarah_Cracknell_Red_Kite-799x800Sarah Cracknell – Red Kite (Cherry Red)

Mary O’Meara says:

“Sublime, cinematic sounds of summer…”

Our review: To follow.

MI0003847405Du Blonde – Welcome Back To Milk (Mute)

Melanie Smith says:

“A welcome return from Beth Jeans Houghton – loud guitars, twisted pop, a breath of fresh air. Produced by Bad Seeds Jim Sclavunos.”

Our review: To follow.

VetiverVetiver – Complete Stranger (Easy Sound)

Arash Torabi says:

“Business as usual: spaced-out, blissful sunshine psychedelic grooves, with a folky yet funky vibe.”

Our review: To follow

wolf-alice-albumWolf Alice – My Love Is Cool (Dirty Hit Records)

Harley Cassidy says:

“Balanced somewhere between the coarser side of Britpop and the more delicate end of Riot Grrrl Wolf Alice’s music has crossed many genres, from hushed acoustics to long, psychedelic wig outs verging on shoegaze, it’s never quite clear what they will produce next.”

Our review:

homepage_large.823e5348Screaming Females – Rose Mountain (Don Giovanni)

Nigel Carr says:

“Incendiary guitar work from Marissa Paternoster fueling a barrage of indie/punk classics.”

Our review:  To follow.

LIFE118_Cover-300x300Pinkshinyultrablast – Everything Else Matters (Club AC30)

Nick Canessa says:

“A charming, wondrous sonic journey complete with fuzzed-out guitars, delectable riffs, angelic vocals and dreamy electronics.”

Our review:

From-Kinshasa-Cover-300x300Mbongwana Star – From Kinshasa (World Circuit)

Kevin Robinson says:

“From the ashes of Staff Benda Bilili, this riotous take on Congolese music is an engaging fusion of distorted electronics, post-punk echo and reverb, soukous guitar lines and throbbing percussion.”

Our review:

image281Bjork – Vulnicura (One Little Indian)

Simon Tucker says:

“Beautiful, heartbreaking, brave, deep, produced wonderfully. Her finest hour to date & the best break-up album ever made .”

Our review:

a3589552345_10-300x300Marriages – Salome (Sargent House)

Dom Walsh says:

“Emotive and expansive music from American rock trio.”

Our review:

33ccc0-300x300Faith No More – Sol Invictus (Reclamation Recordings / Ipecac Recordings)

Ray Burke says:

“Dynamic comeback from the worlds greatest arty metal freaks. Patton’s voice is a thing of soaring erratic beauty.”

Our review:

author-punisher-melk-en-honingAuthor & Punisher – Melk En Honing (Housecore Records)

Colin McCracken says:

“Pounding, brutal otherworldy tech metal madness which will haunt your waking moments forevermore.”

Our review: To follow.

Infinite-Variety-front-cover-300x300The Cathode Ray – Infinite Variety (Stereogram Recordings)

Jamie Havlin says:

“An album of consistently inventive, invigorating and infectious tracks. If you haven’t already heard it, do yourself a favour and give it a spin.”

Our review:

marilyn-mansonpalemperorcoverMarilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor (Hell etc)

Sophie Sparham says:

“I’ve always been a huge manson fan, he’s older now, so he’s not shocking, but he’s matured his sound. He’s bluesier and onto the next level of his career.”

Our review: To follow.

81krbLgLRTL._SL1404_McCarthy – I am a Wallet (Optic Nerve)

Gus Ironside says:

“I am a Wallet is Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’ set to sparkling, melodic guitar pop. Lyrically a relentless deconstruction of Britain’s feudal system-derived class structure and the dehumanisin consequences of Capitalism, this lost classic from 1987 is a tour de force. McCarthy should have been bigger than The Smiths.”

Our review: To follow (the reissue isn’t actually out till August so not really a Jan – June release but what the heck!)

A-Forest-of-Stars-–-Beware-the-Sword-You-Cannot-See-300x300A Forest of Stars – Beware The Sword You Cannot See (Lupus Lounge)

Andy Santiago says:

“Insane levels of creativity result in a groundbreaking album of the finest progressive Black Metal the UK is ever likely to produce. It’s THAT good!”

Our review:

Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe - I Declare Nothing

Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe – I Declare Nothing (A Recordings)

Sean Hornby says:

“The perfect pop combo? Perhaps. Groove, simple chord progression and THAT voice. Should be soundtracking your summer’s evenings and beyond.”

Our review: To follow.

rom-sexsmith-300x3001Ron Sexsmith – Carousel One (Cooking Vinyl) 

Craig Chaligne says:

“Another set of excellents from the Canadian. Now the question : will he ever one day put out a bad album?”

Our review:

Modern-Nature-300The Charlatans – Modern Nature (BMG Chrysalis) 

Sarah Lay says:

“A remarkable affirmation of life, Modern Nature has this long-standing band coming out of dark days sounding better than ever.”

Our review:

metz-ii-900-300dpi-300x300 Metz – II (Sub Pop)

Lisa Sookraj says:

“Contrary to what’s usually expected of a heavier band’s sophomore album, Metz’s II is a relief. It’s rougher, rawer and more abrasive than their debut and just as tight.”

Our review:

46a5a5ce08161ecdf4a89ec4d73d6959Traces of You – Deliverance (Swell Creek Records)

Mike Dines says:

“For those who thought that Krishnacore was lost in the 1990s, Traces of You are a contemporary Italian hardcore/metal band that sings of all things Vedic. A great new album; tight, lyrical and relevant.”

Our review: To follow.

homepage_large.47f30f33Ghost Culture – [self-titled] (Phantasy)

Will Dix says:

“An intimate, self-assured and exceptionally well-written debut from James Greenwood AKA Ghost Culture. A strong personal contender for album of the year.”

Our review: To follow.

Rolo Tomassi GrievancesRolo Tomassi – Grievances

Guy Manchester says:

“A mathcore-meets-hardcore album as pulverising in its heavier moments as it is assured in it’s quieter ones, Grievances saw the band return on top form. Angry, emotional, intelligent and powerful; in short, a belter”

Our review to follow.


CST110cover_573px-300x300Matana Roberts – Coin Coin Chapter Three: River Run Thee (Constellation Records)

Paul Margree says

“A dense and compelling stew of electronics, samples and eerie saxophone – all of which act as points of departure for Roberts as she
delves deep to create an idiosyncratic meditation on America’s great unresolved trauma of slavery and its legacy of racism and inequality. Essential.”

Our review:

resize_1424453426Rosin Murphy – Hairless Toys (PIAS)

Philip Allen says:

“A brilliantly executed soulful electronic dance album from this quality vocalist .”

Our review: To follow.

Milos1Milo’s Planes – Aural Palate Cleaning Exercises (self released)

Ben Tansey says:

“…the borderline obsession I’ve developed for this album reminds me of the first time I heard ‘Pink Flag’.  Every song is a tease, sticking around just long enough to lure you in then vanishing and it’s on to the next.”

Our review:

Mount-The-Air-Albums429676105The Unthanks – Mount The Air (RabbleRouser)

We said:

“The Unthanks textured soundscapes unfold in a work of splendour and sensitive intensity.”

Our review:


xRepentancex – The Sickness of Eden (Carry The Weight Records)

We said:

“A fantastic modern hardcore album that has enough ferocity and songwriting skill to allow the album to stand toe to toe with some of the greats.”

Our review:

a0075064616_10-300x300Trust Fund – No One’s Coming For Us (Turnstile / Reeks of Effort)

We said:

“They have the makings of any of the great indie pop bands, but have the ability to burst out from that meek and mild shell into something altogether nastier. Overall though a thoroughly brilliant record, one which I cannot recommend any more.”

Our review:

sleaterkinney-nocities-1425-300x300Sleater Kinney – No Cities To Love (Sub Pop)

We said:

“It has the guts and pure spunk that all solid, no-nonsense post-punk albums should have. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait quite as long for a follow up.”

Our review:

ZZE-Shackles-Gift-Final-Packshot-300x300Zun Zun Egui – Shackles’ Gift (Bella Union)

We said:

“There may be a lot going on here, but it all hangs together more or less perfectly, like an array of spices which provide the depth and complexity to a hearty and complex dish. Shackles’ Gift a heady stew at times, but one that’s worth savouring.”

Our review:

CCkuZeyW8AA5Z9I.jpg-large-300x297Kamasi Washington – The Epic (Brainfeeder)

We said:

“With The Epic, Kamasi Washington has created an album that can proudly stand up to many of the great jazz albums from the last 80 years…”

Our review:

YF_wmabmt_cover_hi_res-300x300Young Fathers – White Men Are Black Men Too

We said:

“There may not seem much in the way of standard song structure here (why should there be? Didn’t harm Bowie when he discovered the wonders of Berlin) but there lays, at its heart, a taste of every great musical genre that’s preceeded it. Krautrock? Check. Soul? Check. Punk? Check. But in the end it’s all just pop music. Great great pop music.”

Our review:

7519af0f97125b71c8eabce41351fee0dc899b99365e184d17788e9eb4899b50_-original-300x300Lightning Bolt – Fantasy Empire

We said:

“…an album that feels richer and more texturally sound than the last couple of Lightning Bolt albums and signposts more exciting times ahead for this most brilliant of duos.”

Our review:

PLATFORM_FRONT_1500x1500-300x300Holly Herndon – Platform (4AD / RVNG INTL)

We said:

“…a dizzying combination of the avant-garde and the accessible…”

Our review:

23998077-300x300Ela Orleans: Upper Hell (HB Recordings)

We said:

“Upper Hell’ as a collection carries Orleans’ yearning for her natural habitat; neglected wilderness. This terrain is incessantly given unearthly life through her prudent use of metallic, darkened sequenced progressions that entangle with dance orientated components of flickering analogue synth.”

Our review:

Nozinja-300x300Nozinja – Nozinja Lodge (Warp)

We said:

“For the most part, Nozinja sticks faithfully to the distinctive Shangaan Electro sound he created – jittery, caffeinated, clattery beats, minimal bass, frenetic synth marimba and hi-gloss electro sonics, crossed with soulful vocals. But that’s hardly a problem when the music is so infectious…”

Our review:

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  1. What?! No Clowwns? No Wave Pictures? No Kitty, Daisy & Lewis? No Bill Fay? No Natalie Prass? No Meg Baird? No Michael Head and the Strands? No Danny and the Champions of the World?

    Apart from that, there’s some good stuff in there.


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